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Allen's career-day, late-game theatrics, add to emphatic 69-66 Stanford win over Arkansas

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After their 59-45 loss against Villanova Thanksgiving Day, the Stanford Cardinal (3-3, Pac-12) looked to get back on track against the Arkansas Razorbacks (2-3, SEC) Friday in the NIT Season Tip-Off (3rd Place).

Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

In front of a practically empty stadium at the Barclays Center, the Cardinal were able to triumph over the Razorbacks 69-66 in a game that once saw them behind by 20.

Rosco Allen finished with a career-high 25 points, while Michael Humphrey and Marcus Allen both posted 12 as Stanford ended a two game losing streak. Reid Travis added 10 in the big win.

For Arkansas, Anthlon Bell scored a team-high 17 points on 5-7 3-point shooting, Jimmy Whitt had 14, and Moses Kingsley had 12.

Two things outlined the Cardinal's upsetting loss to Villanova Thursday; poor shooting (26%) and a horrendous 23 turnovers. Despite notching the most ever rebounds (55) in the Jonny Dawkins-era, there was still much improvement that needed to be made as Stanford would suit up less than 24 hours later against the Razorbacks.

The shooting and turnover problem saw virtually no change for the Cardinal in the early part of the contest. With a depleted Stanford backcourt, it was clear that Arkansas was going to bring the pressure early on. The Razorbacks press led to noticeable problems quickly for their opponent, as the Cardinal struggled to get into their offense, constantly threw the ball away, and trailed by the 10-minute mark of the first half 29-9. Aside from the excellent pressure on the ball, the Cardinal had to quickly worry about senior Anthlon Bell, who hit five of his first five shots; all of which were 3-pointers. Similar to not finding their first field goal against Villanova until the 10-minute mark, Stanford saw their inability to make shots early continue. By the 10:50 mark, the 2015 NIT Champions had more turnovers (7) than attempted shots (6).

The Cardinal didn't let their poor start phase them, as their aggression, confidence, and ability to play solid one-on-one basketball would put them back into a game that looked like it was already down the toilet.

Marcus Allen, the Cardinal's leading scorer, created his own offense to get the Cardinal on a streak, scoring two straight lay-ups to make the score 31-15 as Arkansas called a timeout. Allen's quick four points with eight to go in the first signaled a turn-around, as Stanford would go on a run that would put them only single digits behind.

After Rosco Allen's driving layup with 1:02 remaining, the Arkansas lead shrunk to just six (37-31). Stanford's dominating 18-6 run up until this point changed the outlook of the game completely, but the Razorbacks were able to tack on a few more points to make it a double-digit lead (41-31) going into the second half of action.

Second Half:

By the seven minute mark in the second half, the Razorbacks were in a better position. Leading by 17 points, the Razorbacks were dictating the Cardinal with their ability to find open looks and pressure the Cardinal offense into taking tough shots. Once again, the Cardinal didn't let a large deficit stump their confidence, as they put together another key run to make it a game again; this time, one that would lead to an emphatic victory.

Manule Watkins layup with 6:39 remaining gave Arkansas a commanding 65-48 lead, but powered by two 3-pointers from Rosco Allen and six points from Michael Humphrey, Stanford went on a 14-0 run that put them three behind with 2:17 remaining.

After Razborbacks' forward Keaton Miles made one of two free throws, the Cardinal were down four as the game hit the two-minue mark. Anthlon Bell, who had five 3-pointers in the game, fouled out after sending freshman Marcus Sheffield to the line with 1:43 to go. Sheffield hit one of two shots, and not long after, Rosco Allen was sent to the line and would make one of two as well. With 1:11 left and a 66-64 Arkansas lead, the Cardinal were in a position to take home the amazing turnaround victory.

Marcus Allen was sent to the line with 40 seconds left, and hitting only one of two like Allen and Sheffield before him, Stanford still was trailing by one. As Arkansas struggled to find a shot as the shot clock ticked down, Michael Humprhey came up with a clutch block into the courtside seats, giving the SEC team only one second to get a shot off. Dusty Hannahs airmailed an attempt from the three-point arc trying to draw a foul. Shot clock violation; Stanford ball with 10 seconds to go.

Marcus Allen took the inbounds pass inside the Razorbacks press, pushed it down to the Cardinal end untouched, and to the shock of many, scored on, of all things, an untimely goaltend by Keaton Miles. The Cardinal were now in front 67-66 with two seconds left, after trailing by at least 17+ points in both half's.

To make matters even worse, Arkansas was assessed a technical foul after head coach Mike Anderson argued, sending Rosco Allen to the line who hit both shots to make it a three point game. Hannahs nearly sent the game to overtime with his desperation chuck from deep, bouncing in and out of inside the rim, but Stanford was able to snatch away the huge 69-66 win. Stanford scored 21 of the final 22 points.

As the Cardinal move to 3-3 after a serious confidence boost, Johnny Dawkins must still urge to his team about a way to alleviate their early-game struggles. Stanford cannot continue to put themselves in holes early with their poor ball security and inability to get offense going, as it will end up making more games like this where they will need to come from behind to dig out a win. It was an amazing effort and a thrilling "W", but there is still plenty of work this Cardinal team needs if they want to be a surprise in the Pac-12 this season.

Stanford has plenty of time to work on their weaknesses in practice over the coming two weeks, as their next game falls on December 12th back at the Maples Pavilion against Dartmouth (0-2, Ivy).